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A federal judge has given lawyers for Rep. George Santos, R-N.Y., and the Justice Department an extra seven weeks to discuss "paths forward" in the criminal case that accuses Santos of fraud, money laundering, and lying to Congress.
The Justice Department on Tuesday asked the judge in New York to delay their status conference in part so the prosecution and defense can "have additional time to continue those discussions." Prosecutors also cited an abundance of discovery documents for the Santos' lawyers to dig through.
Bruce Udolf, a defense attorney who previously ran the Justice Department's public corruption section in south Florida, said the language suggests there are ongoing discussions about some kind of plea deal.
"It doesn't sound like they've reached an agreement," Udolf said.
Udolf said the defense is likely to be looking to avoid a felony conviction, and the prosecution would be pushing for both a felony conviction and jail time. The most likely path the defense would be seeking to avoid a felony conviction would be to have Santos resign from office.
Santos pleaded not guilty to 13 federal counts in May. Prosecutors said Santos ran a fraudulent scheme to finance his campaign, defrauded the unemployment insurance program, and made false statements to the House of Representatives on his financial disclosures.
A lawyer for Santos did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Santos lawyers in talks with DOJ in fraud, money laundering case